When you hire a young person it could be their first working experience. They may be less confident than more experienced staff and could come from different backgrounds to you. What you take for granted about workplace culture could be new to them. You should:
- Explain the culture, values and expectations of your organisation, as well the technical skills needed for the job, in your induction process.
- Assign a buddy to answer questions and to help settle a young person into the job and the way your organisation operates.
Download the Hiring and keeping young staff infographic [PDF 60KB] for tips on how to hire, train and progress young people in employment.
Get the best from young staff
Most young people need encouragement and support to understand the opportunities they have in their employment. Young staff may not understand how entry level tasks relate to progression opportunities unless you explain this to them.
- Consider cultural and generational differences matter too. Young people may be from different backgrounds to you and show their motivation and interest differently.
- Provide ongoing feedback about how they are doing and how they can develop. Don’t assume progression pathways are obvious.
- Consider offering a mentor to a young person - you’ll be showing young staff that you’re invested in their growth and development. A mentor can help young people feel more engaged and inspired within your organisation.
- Sometimes young people need help to balance their responsibilities. The cultural background of some staff may also mean they do not speak up or question managers.
- Encourage young workers to plan ahead and to talk with you about their home and community responsibilities. Talking with families can be helpful too. Be aware of your obligations to respond to flexible working requests from employees.
Training and progression
Most young people need support and encouragement to understand their opportunities and possible career paths that exist for them once employed. Coaching, mentoring and investing in workplace training can help to develop and retain young people and inspire them on a career pathway.
Industry training support for employers and employees
- New Zealand Apprenticeships are full industry qualifications. Apprentices work towards a qualification while they get practical experience as a paid employee. Apprentices are supported by a training plan agreed by the apprentice, the employer and the industry training organisation (ITO) (external link) responsible for managing the training.
- Industry training organisations can also arrange smaller packages of training to meet the needs of both employers and employees.
- Māori and Pasifika Trades Training (external link) support young people to take up trades, through regional partnerships (known as consortia) that connect employers, tertiary providers and community groups. Consortia are operating in nearly all regions that have a significant population of Māori and Pasifika.
- The Skills for Industry (external link) programme can help with pre-job training to meet business needs. Courses for Work and Income job seekers can include driver training and health and safety, as well as pre-trades training that provides a pathway to apprenticeships.
- Workplace literacy and numeracy is the mix of skills employees need to complete everyday tasks e.g. communicating with customers and meeting health and safety requirements. Skills Highway (external link) is a government funded programme that helps employers to provide literacy and numeracy support to workers and industry trainees.
- Local tertiary providers, including Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics, can help with training.
Tools and Resources
Hiring and keeping young staff - PDF 60KB
Ideas and help for employers to hire, train and retain young people.
Finding young staff - PDF 63KB
Tips for employers on finding the right person and help that's available.
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